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Digital Day 2018: EU countries to commit to doing more together on the digital front

Zoltan Tundik

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Photo source: pixabay.com
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Brussels, 9 April 2018 – Tomorrow the Commission will bring ministers, representatives of EU countries, industry, academia and civil society representatives together to encourage cooperation in artificial intelligence, blockchain, eHealth and innovation.

Discussions will focus on how the technological developments will shape the future of Europe and building a strong Digital Single Market with increased investment and digital skills is crucial.

After last year’s Digital Day in Rome that triggered successful cooperation in areas such as high-performance computing, connected mobility and the digitisation of industry, the Commission is repeating the initiative to encourage more cooperation on digital issues.

Within a year, major progress has been made towards a Digital Single Market. The end of roaming charges and the portability of online content are now part of the lives of Europeans. Stronger rules on the protection of personal data and the first EU-wide rules on cybersecurity will become a reality in May 2018.

Many proposals still need to be agreed. Europe should move forward, and building on the Digital Single Market, increase investments and foster cooperation in a series of key areas such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, eHealth and innovation.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said: “Europeans are starting to feel the benefits of the Digital Single Market on the ground. They can now travel across borders with their favourite video and music streaming services – and with no roaming charges. Soon geoblocking when shopping online will be a distant memory. Our personal data will be better protected as of 25 May. This year’s Digital Day is the perfect moment to recognise what we have achieved but to also encourage EU Member States to move forward quickly with the legislative proposals still on the table. We need to prepare our digital future together; we need to do more, joining forces and resources to grasp the opportunities offered by technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain.” (The opening speech will be available here at around 9:30 CET tomorrow).

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: “Digitalisation is transforming our society and we can reap its full benefits only through close and fruitful cooperation. Coordinated EU-level commitment and investments are much needed to tackle the challenges ahead. I expect Digital Day 2018 to bring the digital cooperation in Europe to a new level regarding artificial intelligence as well as eHealth, and I encourage all EU Member States and stakeholders to contribute to our efforts to keep Europe a global player in the digital age.”

Highlights of Digital Day 2018 include declarations aimed at:

  • Joining forces on artificial intelligence (AI): AI can bring major benefits to our society and economy, such as better healthcare, safer transport and a more competitive industry. To fully benefit from the opportunities offered by AI, European countries need to work together, including for using the highest standards of data protection. The Commission will adopt a Communication on AI in the coming weeks. More about the declaration on AI will be available here at around 13:00 CET tomorrow.
  • Building a European partnership in blockchain technologies: The European Commission recently launched the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum in February 2018 and will invest some €300 million in projects supporting the use of blockchain. At the same time Member States have been very active in supporting blockchain ecosystems, launching experiments and announcing actions at the government level. In order to harness the many opportunities of blockchain and avoid a fragmented approach, tomorrow the Commission will lay the groundwork for establishing a European Blockchain Partnership to promote interoperable infrastructures that will enhance trusted digital services. More about the declaration on blockchain technologies will be available here at around 15:30 CET tomorrow.
  • Sharing data to personalise healthcare: Citizens’ needs are at the centre of data-driven healthcare innovation and should have an active role in their personalised treatment. The eHealth declaration aims at linking access to existing and future genomic databases across the European Union which will help to advance research in rare diseases, cancer, pharmacogenomics, disease prevention, brain related diseases and other conditions. Enhanced cooperation between Member States will help to overcome lack of interoperability and fragmentation of initiatives across the EU, while guaranteeing highest European standards for personal data protection. This will also keep the EU at the forefront of personalised medicine globally, fostering scientific output and industrial competitiveness. More about the declaration on genomic databankswill be available here at around 17:00 CET tomorrow.
  • Encouraging innovation with the help of a new online tool: The Innovation Radar can help match innovators with those who can help get their innovations to market. During Digital Day 2018, the Commission encourages the cooperation for supporting breakthrough innovations in Europe. The initiative also aims to develop the online tool further and enrich it with top national innovation projects.More about the declaration on Innovation Radarwill be available here at around 17:30 CET tomorrow.
  • 5G cross-border testing corridors to support connected and automated mobility: A first set of large-scale testing corridors was announced in September 2017. Tomorrow, Spain and Portugal will sign a Memorandum of Understanding to kick-start their cooperation. More about Memorandum of understanding will be available here at around 11:30 CET tomorrow.

Background

During Digital Day 2017, the focus was on five initiatives:

For More Information

Livestream of the Digital Day 2018

Digital Day 2017 in Rome

Cooperation for building European supercomputers

Timeline: Digital Single Market – Commission actions since 2015

#DigitalDay18

@DSMeu @Ansip_EU @GabrielMariya

IP/18/2902

Press contacts:

Nathalie VANDYSTADT (+32 2 296 70 83)
Inga HOGLUND (+32 2 295 06 98)

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.

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Conferences in Europe

Italian gambling market in the focus at the European Gaming Congress 2018 with Quirino Mancini (Tonucci & Partners)

Zoltan Tundik

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ljubljana – 26 June 2018 – The Italian gambling market has been in the focus of the online gambling industry for quite a while, however the recent decisions which are now shaping the industry in peninsula are in the headlines of every gambling media outlet.

Whenever it’s the entry of a software provider via a licensed operator, the successful licensing of a new operator or the tackling of gambling ads, Italy is an attractive market when it comes to gambling.

Wikipedia says that “Gambling in Italy has existed for centuries and has taken on many forms. The history of gambling in Italy dates back to the days of the Roman Empire, when the predecessor of the modern backgammon, Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum became popular among the Roman legionnaires. It is also due to them that the game came to other European countries.”

The inaugural edition of European Gaming Congress which will be held on the 16th of October at the Grand Union Hotel in Ljubljana will also focus on shedding light upon the industry and its main topics.

Quirino Mancini, the Global Head of the Gaming and Gambling Practice at Tonucci & Partners will take the role to give an in depth review of the market and its potential investment opportunities for international operators.

Tonucci & Partners is a top-ten Italian general practice firm with offices in Rome, Milan, Brescia, Padua, Florence, Tirana, Bucharest and Belgrad.

Quirino Mancini

Quirino is one of the leading Italian gaming and gambling lawyers with a specialist practice of almost 20 years.  He acts for Italian and foreign-based online and land-based companies operating in the Italian gaming market, advising them on legal, licensing, regulatory, day-to-day compliance and any other operational aspects connected to their activities.  He also runs a bespoke matchmaking and business strategy service to provide clients with a customised type of assistance that includes also introduction and facilitation of dealings with the local regulatory authorities, banks as well as scouting and suitability checks on potential business partners.

Quirino is a regular speaker at most international gaming conferences and sits in the editorial board of various sector reviews and magazines.

Co-founder and editor of www.gaminglaw.eu, a pan-European information and commentary portal focusing on legal and regulatory issues under European and national gaming laws.

Secretary and fellow member of the Leadership Committee of the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL), a worldwide organisation gathering regulators, lawyers and advisors, in-house counsels and educators engaged in the gaming business.  Fellow member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA)

The European Gaming Congress (EGC) is expected to bring together industry expert from all over Europe and create a platform which will enable both networking and learning at the highest quality.

You can view the full agenda on the following link.

Full detail about the event can be found on the official website of the event: https://europeangamingcongress.com/

Make sure you grab your seat as the seats are limited to 100 registrants!

Register here!

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European Commission Press Releases

How digital is your country? Europe needs Digital Single Market to boost its digital performance

George Miller

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Europe needs Digital Single Market to boost its digital performance
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Brussels, 18 May 2018 — Today the European Commission is publishing the results of the 2018 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), a tool which monitors the performance of Member States in digital connectivity, digital skills online activity, the digitisation of businesses and digital public services.

According to it, the EU is getting more digital, but progress remains insufficient for Europe to catch up with global leaders and to reduce differences across Member States. This calls for a quick completion of the Digital Single Market and increased investments in digital economy and society.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said:This is a shift, albeit small, in the right digital direction. As a whole, the EU is making progress but not yet enough. In the meantime, other countries and regions around the world are improving faster. This is why we should invest more in digital and also complete the Digital Single Market as soon as possible: to boost Europe’s digital performance, provide first-class connectivity, online public services and a thriving e-commerce sector.”

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said: We look forward to a rapid progress on major reforms such as the European Electronic Communications Code aiming at boosting investments in enhanced connectivity. This year’s Digital Economy and Society Index demonstrates that we must deploy further efforts to tackle lack of digital skills among our citizens. By integrating more digital technologies and equipping them with skills, we will further empower citizens, businesses and public administrations. This is the way to succeed the digital transformation of our societies.

Over the past year, the EU continued to improve its digital performance and the gap between the most and the least digital countries slightly narrowed (from 36 points to 34 points). Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands scored the highest ratings in DESI 2018 and are among the global leaders in digitalisation. They are followed by Luxembourg, Ireland, the UK, Belgium and Estonia. Ireland, Cyprus and Spain progressed the most (by more than 15 points) over the last four years. However, some other EU countries still have a long way to go and the EU as a whole needs to improve to be competitive on the global stage.

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DESI 2018 shows:

Connectivity has improved, but is insufficient to address fast-growing needs

  • Ultrafast connectivity of at least 100 Mbps is available to 58% of households and the number of subscriptions is rapidly increasing. 15% of homes use ultrafast broadband: this is twice as high as just two years ago and five times higher than in 2013.
  • 80% of European homes are covered by fast broadband with at least 30 Megabits per second (Mbps) (76% last year) and a third (33%) of European households have a subscription (23% increase compared to last year, and 166% compared to 2013).

The number of mobile data subscriptions has increased by 57% since 2013 reach 90 subscriptions per 100 people in the EU. 4G mobile networks cover on average 91% of the EU population (84% last year).

Indicators show that the demand for fast and ultrafast broadband is rapidly increasing, and is expected to further increase in the future. The Commission proposed a reform of EU telecoms rules to meet Europeans’ growing connectivity needs and boost investments.

More and more Europeans use the internet to communicate

The highest increase in the use of internet services is related to telephone and video calls: almost half of Europeans (46%) use the internet to make calls, this is almost a 20% increase compared to last year and more than 40% increase compared to 2013. Other indicators show that 81% of Europeans now go online at least once a week (79% last year).

To increase trust in the online environment, new EU rules on data protection will enter into force on 25 May 2018.

The EU has more digital specialists than before but skills gaps remain

  • The EU improved very little in the number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates (19.1 graduates per 1000 people aged 20 to 29 years old in 2015, compared to 18.4. in 2013);
  • 43% of Europeans still do not have basic digital skills (44% last year).

Alongside the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition, the Commission has launched the Digital Opportunity Traineeships to tackle the digital skills gap in Europe. The pilot initiative will provide digital traineeships for up to 6,000 students and recent graduates until 2020 in another EU country.

Businesses are more digital, e-commerce is growing slowly

While more and more companies send electronic invoices (18% compared to 10% in 2013) or use social media to engage with customers and partners (21% compared to 15% in 2013), the number of SMEs selling online has been stagnating over the past years (17%).

In order to boost e-commerce in the EU, the Commission has put forward a series of measures from more transparent parcel delivery prices to simpler VAT and digital contract rules. As of 3 December 2018, consumers and companies will be able to find the best deals online across the EU without being discriminated based on their nationality or residence.

Europeans use more public services online

58% of internet users submitting forms to their public administration used the online channel (52% in 2013).

  • 18% of people use online health services.

In April 2018, the Commission adopted initiatives on the re-use of public sector information and on eHealth that will significantly improve cross-border online public services in the EU.

Background

The annual Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) aims to measure the progress of EU Member States towards a digital economy and society. It helps EU countries identify areas requiring priority investments and action. The DESI is also a key tool when analysing digital in the European Semester, which allows EU countries to discuss their economic and budget plans and monitor progress at specific times throughout the year.

This year, both DESI and the more detailed analysis of national digital policies, providing an overview of progress and of policy implementation by Member States (previously called Europe’s Digital Progress Report) are published jointly using the DESI name. A more detailed Telecoms Chapter for each Member State is annexed to the reports. To make better comparison between Member States, DESI also develops cross-country analyses in connectivity, skills, use of the internet, take-up of digital technology by businesses, digital public services, ICT R&D and innovation investment and use of Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme funds by Member States.

The Commission has presented 29 legislative proposals under its Digital Single Market strategy and called, in a recent Communication, the European Parliament and Member States to adopt these proposals by the end of 2018.

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European Commission Press Releases

EU Leaders’ meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for the benefit of all

George Miller

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EU Leaders' meeting in Sofia: Completing a trusted Digital Single Market
Andrus Ansip, European Commissioner for Digital Single Market. Photo Credits: EC Audiovisual Services
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Brussels, 15 May 2018 – Ten days ahead of the entry into application of the General Data Protection Regulation, the European Commission is today presenting a set of concrete actions that European leaders can take to protect citizens’ privacy and make the EU’s Digital Single Market a reality before the end of 2018.

The Communication presented today is the Commission’s contribution to the informal discussions that EU leaders will hold in Sofia tomorrow.

The Commission believes that it is in the shared interest of all Member States to manage the digital transformation by following the European approach, which links investment in digital innovation with strong data protection rules. This will allow the EU to effectively deal with the challenges of an increasingly data-based global economy.

Vice-President Andrus Ansip, responsible for the Digital Single Market, said: Data is at the heart of our economy and society. It needs to flow freely, to be safe and secure. The European Commission has put forward all the proposals for a Digital Single Market; it is now EU leaders who have the keys to unlock digital opportunities. This new regulatory environment should go hand in hand with major investments in areas such as cybersecurity, 5G, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing.”

Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, added: “The recent Facebook Cambridge Analytica revelations confirm once more that the EU made the right choice to put in place strong data protection rules. Data harvesting with the aim of manipulating public opinion is unacceptable. We are proud to be setting the new global standard for the protection of personal data. This is fundamental for consumer trust in an increasingly digital economy and society.”

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said: “Having the right regulatory framework in place is crucial to create trust and develop businesses online. Together with the General Data Protection Regulation, the ePrivacy Regulation will secure our citizens’ electronic communications. In Sofia, EU leaders will have a unique occasion to give decisive incentives on the remaining key digital proposals still in negotiations.”

Three years after adopting the Digital Single Market Strategy, the Digital Single Market has progressed, with 12 legislative proposals agreed by the European Parliament and Council out of the 29 tabled by the Commission since May 2015. Major new laws on data protection, cybersecurity, and the end of mobile roaming charges are either already in place or will be in a matter of days or weeks. Member States must now ensure these agreed rules work in practice.

Strengthening the protection of personal data in the EU

General Data Protection Regulation: Two-thirds of Europeans say that they are worried about having no control over the information they provide online, while half are concerned about falling victim to fraud. The recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal has raised awareness that data could be misused if not properly protected.

Through the General Data Protection Regulation citizens will be able to benefit from stronger protection of personal data through:

  • better control over how personal data is handled by companies and public administrations alike, including the need for users’ clear consent for processing their personal data;
  • more clarity about the privacy policies of companies;
  • swift notification of harmful data breaches without delay.

Next steps: The Commission is inviting EU leaders to ensure that national authorities urgently put in place all the remaining steps necessary to prepare for the application of the new rules in all Members States.

ePrivacy Regulation: Alongside the General Data Protection Regulation, the ePrivacy Regulation proposed in January 2017, currently under negotiation in the European Parliament and the Council, is essential so that the confidentiality of Europeans’ online communication is not breached. The new rules will apply both to traditional telecoms operators and online services, such as emails, instant messaging or online voice services. This means that without users’ consent, no service provider would be able access the devices they use.

Next steps: The Commission is urging the Council to swiftly agree on its negotiation position on the ePrivacy Regulation, so that negotiations with the European Parliament can start by June 2018, with a view to the adoption by the end of 2018.

Necessary steps to complete a functional Digital Single Market

Since the launch of the Digital Single Market strategy in May 2015, the Commission has delivered proposals for all 29 initiatives identified as essential for a functional Digital Single Market. The benefits are already being enjoyed by citizens, for instance through a four-fold increase in data use when travelling to other Member States thanks to the abolition of roaming charges. Altogether the Digital Single Market could contribute €415 billion per year to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

In particular, the Commission is inviting EU leaders to discuss and give their strategic orientation with a view to:

  • Mobilising the necessary public and private investments to deploy artificial intelligence, 5G connectivity networks, high-performance computing.
  • Ensuring that the Regulation on free flow of non-personal data, designed to further develop the European data economy, is agreed by co-legislators by June 2018.
  • Similarly, the Electronic Communications Code, aiming at boosting investment in high-speed and high-quality networks across the EU, should also be finalised by June 2018.
  • Helping Member States equip Europeans with the digital skills they will need in today’s and tomorrow’s digital economy and society.

More generally, all other pending Digital Single Market proposals should be agreed by the end of 2018, in line with the call of the European Council of October 2017. These include, for instance, the modernisation of EU copyright rules to protect creators online better and facilitate the access to European works across borders.

Background

The EU has already put an end to mobile roaming charges in the EU and allowed Europeans to travel across the EU with their online subscriptions for films, TV series, video games, music, sport programmes or ebooks.

Since 9 May 2018, Member States have to apply the first EU-wide legislation on cybersecurity – the Directive on Security of Network and Information Systems (NIS Directive) – which will be completed by a wide-ranging set of measures for stronger cybersecurity in the EU. This includes a proposal for an EU Cybersecurity Agency to assist Member States in dealing with cyber-attacks, as well as a new European certification scheme that will ensure that products and services in the digital world are safe to use. As of December 2018, thanks to new rules against unjustified geoblocking, consumers will no longer face barriers when buying products or services online within the EU. For businesses, this means more legal certainty to operate cross-border.

In April 2018, the Commission delivered all the remaining Digital Single Market actions and notably presented a European approach for the future of artificial intelligence, measures to tackle disinformation online, including an EU-wide Code of Practice on disinformation, as well as conditions for fairness and transparency in the online platforms economy designed to lead to an innovation-friendly environment for EU businesses.

In parallel, the General Data Protection Regulation was adopted in December 2015 with a two-year transition period to allow Member States and their authorities to be fully ready when it enters into application on 25 May 2018. In January 2018, the Commission also published guidelines to facilitate the application of the new data protection rules across the EU.

For More Information

Factsheet: Digital Single Market for all Europeans
Communication on Completing a trusted Digital Single Market for all

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